LibDems take on mantle of local democracy

7 Sep 00
Council tax should be replaced with a 'fair local income tax' according to pre-manifesto plans from the Liberal Democrats.

08 September 2000

The 'vision for local communities', unveiled by Don Foster, spokesman for the environment, transport and the regions, is the latest in a series of moves aimed at repositioning the LibDems as the party for local democracy.

Under the plan, 16-year-olds would be allowed to vote and stand for public office. Devolution would be completed with referendums on English regional assemblies and the single transferable vote system would be introduced nationally.

The party also proposes streamlining regeneration funding, including European Union finance and the Single Regeneration Budget, into one pot to try to speed up the controversial system of matched funding from the government.

'The only kind of regeneration that works long term must involve the talent and resources of the local community – not be imposed from outside,' Foster said. 'At a time when local authorities are more dictated to from the centre than ever before, this document demonstrates our commitment to setting communities free.'

The LibDems also propose a greenfield development levy to clean up brownfield and damaged wildlife sites, and to create a new Department of Local Government and the Regions.


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